My Foodie Adventures

Making up healthy recipes as I go along...

Date: 18th October 2015

Turning a Bag of Free Ingredients Into Moroccan Meatballs

I was recently gifted a load of ingredients from work. We had done a photo shoot using them and as the poorest person in the office, they felt it would be kind to ensure that I wouldn’t starve.

There was loads of stuff; tomatoes, coconuts, butternut squash, dried beans… just so much stuff. The things which piqued my interest the most, however, were the spices and giant couscous.

After we had carefully arranged the spices in the most photogenic way, we swept them all into a pot and I took them home. I don’t really know what was in it, but I’m pretty sure there was Ras el Hanout because I saw a tub of it on the table and there was definitely turmeric because my hands were bright yellow.

I had planned to make meatballs that evening, mainly because I had a kilogram of mince which I couldn’t fit in my freezer. The introduction of this plethora of free ingredients got my cogs turning and convinced me to push my boundaries a little. My comfort zone, regarding meatballs, is firmly in Italian territory. This gift gave me cause to ponder about ways in which I could venture out of my safe place and into a whole other world of flavour.

I decided to take a culinary trip to Morocco.

It does look as though this recipe is quite complicated, but don’t worry. I am a very lazy cook and I manage to get by on luck. So it’s actually pretty easy when put into practice.

There are two parts to the recipe because you make the meatballs and then cook them in the sauce. You can make the bits simultaneously which cuts down on prep time.

I took the leftovers into work as a way of thanking them for their charity and they went down an absolute treat. So I didn’t get to eat as much of it as I wanted, kind of a pyrrhic victory in that sense.

Moroccan Almond and Apricot Meatballs

CookingMeatballs

Ingredients:

Mince (preferably lamb, but any mince will do)

Shallots

Garlic

Flaked Almonds

Dried Apricots

Fresh Coriander

Salt

Pepper

Dried Chilli

Oil (any kind you like, really. I used coconut oil)

Method:

These meatballs are ridiculously easy. You won’t believe how quickly you can make them.

  1. Finely chop the shallots and garlic, like really small. Or put them in a blender, which I did
  2. Fry them off for a few minutes, don’t let them burn. You just want them to go a bit translucent
  3. Put all of the ingredients except for the mince in the blender and add the cooked mince and garlic
  4. Blend it for a short while. You don’t want it to turn into a paste, just really tiny bits.
  5. Grab a bowl, throw in the mince and your blended mixture
  6. Get your hands right on up in that bowl and start squishing. Make sure that the mixture is… mixed, I guess. What we’re aiming for here is a uniform spread in the meatballs, you don’t want to end up with one meatball that’s pure mince and one that’s pure mixture. We want even, uniform balls (let’s not be puerile, there is just no other way to phrase that sentence)
  7. Form what you end up with into balls (ok, it is kind of funny)
  8. Heat up your oil, don’t let it start smoking, or catching fire. That’s kind of obvious
  9. Put your meatballs in and cook them all over. I did that 12 o’clock thing where you start at the top of the pan and put them in the pan in a clockwise fashion so you know which went in first and can turn them accordingly
  10. Once they’re cooked all over, turn off the heat and get on with the sauce

MoroccanSauce

Moroccan Tomato and Apple Sauce

Before we make the sauce, which is also very simple, we need to do a quick prep with the apple. Simply chop an apple into small chunks, not too fine. Sprinkle on some cinnamon and toss them in a bit of honey. Roast in the oven until they go soft. Simple

Ingredients:

Tinned tomatoes

Roasted Apples

Chickpeas

Shallots

Any other vegetables you want really. The reason I didn’t add any to this was because I was putting them in the couscous

Garlic

Ras el Hanout

Turmeric

Cinnamon

Paprika

Salt

Pepper

Greek Yoghurt

Coriander

Dried Basil

Dried Chillis

Method:

Read carefully because this one is really complicated. I’m not even sure I can remember all of the steps, so I’ll just do what I can.

  1. Blend all of the ingredients except the chickpeas
  2. Stir in the chickpeas
  3. Pour over the meatballs and cook on a low heat until the meatballs are cooked throughout
  4. Reread this method because this is far too easy, you must have missed a step. That can’t be it, can it?

Phew! That one nearly got away from me. So glad I was able to recollect all of that

I ate this with grilled vegetables in couscous, the recipe for which I got from ThugKitchen. Word of warning, the language on that site is somewhat coarse, so tread carefully. But the food is amazingCouscous

Enjoy!

Let’s Get Classy, Don Draper Style…

Let me introduce you to my favourite drink. The Old Fashioned. A surprisingly simple drink which just makes you want to put on a suit and listen to jazz music. This potent potable has recently seen a resurgence in popularity, thanks mainly to the awesome TV show, Mad Men and Don Draper’s somewhat worrying penchant for them, at any hour of the day.

I recently took it upon myself to have a Mad Men Marathon; the first four seasons are on Amazon Instant Video, so it would be rude not to. Once I decided that this was how I was going to spend my weekend, I knew I would have to go all out. It wasn’t going to be as simple as pressing play.

I knew that I would have to mentally prepare myself for the blurred line between reality and TV, like the time I watched 30 episodes of The Sopranos and kept telling people to “fuhgedaboudit” and calling them a “schifosa” despite having no idea what it means.

For my initiation into the world of advertising in the 50s, this meant  I wound up wearing a suit and eating steak (rare, in case you were wondering).

However, about four episodes in, a thought dawned on me. My mouth was a little parched, probably because I had covered my steak in tabasco sauce and served it with chips covered in salt and vinegar. I knew I couldn’t just pour myself a normal drink. I needed a classy drink. I needed an Old Fashioned.

So, with introductions well and truly out the way, let’s do this.

*NB: There is no official, agreed upon method or recipe for an Old Fashioned. This is just how I make it*

Ingredients and Tools:

Whiskey or whisky (don’t just pick up a random bottle. The choice of alcohol plays a massive part in the taste of the end result)

Brown Sugar

Angostura Bitters

Orange Peel (just a small wedge will do, try not to get any pith because this will make it bitter and awful)

Ice (big chunky ice, you want it to chill your drink but not melt quickly and water it down)

Optional: A Drop of Water

You need a small tumbler for this, like in my picture up there. That was a glass I got free with a bottle of Jura.

Teaspoon

Method:

  1. Put about half a teaspoon of sugar in the glass, I had sugar cubes so I just used one of them
  2. Add a few drops of bitters and stir it in, this is where a drop of water comes in handy as you need the sugar and bitters to dissolve so you don’t end up with a saccharine sludge at the bottom of your glass
  3. Fill the glass with ice cubes and give it another stir, get the ice coated in the sugary bitters
  4. Put as much whiskey/whisky
  5. in as you like, it’s your drink, I won’t judge
  6. Point the orange side of the peel at your drink and give it a squeeze over it. This releases the oils and gives a light orange taste to your drink.
  7. Rub the peel around the rim of your glass and drop it in
  8. Final quick stir
  9. Slowly sip your drink and bask in its manliness. You’ll probably sprout a wicked moustache and talk like Ron Swanson, so prepare yourself for that
  10. Lose track of time and reality as you click ‘Next Episode’ for the 15th time
  11. Repeat

There are loads of variations on this recipe and as I make them, I will share my experiences with you!